Florida Family vacation in California

Jul 4th, 2015, 06:23 PM
  #1  
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Florida Family vacation in California

Setting out for California in late July and finding it difficult to find places to stay for a family of 6. Suggestions? We plan to fly into San Francisco, spend 3 days, then up to Gualala for a few nights then head down coast, possibly staying in Pismo, then staying in LA 2-3 days before flying out. Is this a doable itenary or seeking suggestions. We have 10 days. Need suggestions for must do things to do. Traveling with 4 kids (12-21).
patcwill is offline  
Jul 4th, 2015, 10:10 PM
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Have you checked Airbnb? Even at this late date you should be able to find vacation rentals still available, although you may have a to pay somewhat more as the more affordable options would presumably go first.

It seems to me a long drive to LA for such a short visit. If you like the north coast you may find it more satisfying to spend all 10 days in San Francisco and points north rather than the rush south you describe.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jul 5th, 2015, 04:37 AM
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Often the all suite hotels can allow 6 adults in one room - although I can;t imagine trying to travel with just one bath for so many people.

When we were traveling with our 2 tween/teen daughters we always got them their own room - since I was not about to share a bath with 2 tween/teen girls and their eternal showering/hairwashing (frequently twice a day in warmer weather), primping and fluffing.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 5th, 2015, 08:46 AM
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<>. LOL. So true!

I agree with Mme. If your flights are set, perhaps cut out Gualala and spend some time on your way south in the Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur area. If you could go in/out of SFO, then concentrate on the north, cutting out LA.
MichelleY is offline  
Jul 5th, 2015, 11:42 AM
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I love LA and live in a suburb of it but the trip would be a little rushed. 3 nights in SF, 2 in Gualala, leaves you with 2 stops along Highway 1 and 3 in LA. That is counting nights not days. If you are counting days, you do not have enough time.
There are hotels that will hold more than 4, most do not due to fire codes.
jamie99 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2015, 02:36 PM
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Suggestions for things to do in LA. Will be visiting a great Aunt in West Hills but other than that we do not have plans. I agree the trip has too much driving, will need to rethink Gualala.
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Jul 6th, 2015, 11:40 AM
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Beaches will be great in July, spend a day at Santa Monica and maybe a side trip to Venice (not my favorite but seems to be a must see for many). Maybe throw in a drive up to Malibu, stop at Leo Carrillo and see the tidepools (depending on the tide), stop at Zuma Beach, maybe have lunch someplace (I like Duke's, plenty of parking and a nice Hawaiian vibe). Any interest in Getty Villa? You do need reservations due to limited parking.
Griffith Park, maybe the Autry Museum if any Western fans, Getty Museum, Huntington Gardens and Library. Any interest in theme parks like Disneyland or Six Flags Magic Mountain? Sadly the Petersen Automotive Museum is closed until early December, it is a real gem.
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Jul 6th, 2015, 05:53 PM
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jamie 99, thank you for the suggestions. I recall eating at a place in Malibu on the water several years ago,not sure of the name, it was fun. Kids want to go to Disneyland only to compare to Disney World, I am not interested because it will take an entire day out of our trip. Is there an area of town you recommend to stay? We will be looking for a house or condo instead of a hotel.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 01:05 PM
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You need to be careful with short term vacation rentals as they are illegal in some areas, and I predict more places will enact ordinances like this. They are illegal in Santa Monica and just last month Manhattan Beach passed a law outlawing them (otherwise I would have recommended MB). Just because it is listed on VRBO or airbnb does not mean they are legal, so you need to check with a travel forum before booking. Maybe Marina del Rey west of Lincoln? Or are you looking to stay in Orange County?
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Jul 10th, 2015, 01:22 PM
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For our longer stays in LA, SF, and Gualala we have booked homes. The rest of the trip I am trying to book hotel rooms. Been warned about traveling North out of SF. Is there a better time of day?
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Jul 10th, 2015, 01:40 PM
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What sort of warned? The traffic is heavy going north for the mid-late afternoon commute.
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Jul 10th, 2015, 02:33 PM
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Only warned of the travel time. Considering reorganizing my trip to drive up to Gualala after arrival from airport in SF, rather than starting in SF, heading north and then back down coast. Thoughts? Its a long flight and I originally thought spending a few hours in SF would be a better use of time on the first day on the west coast. Worried a 7 hour flight and a 3-4 hour car ride might be too much for the family.
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Jul 10th, 2015, 02:55 PM
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What's your arrival time at SFO?
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Jul 10th, 2015, 03:03 PM
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I should also have asked, what day of the week?
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Jul 10th, 2015, 03:14 PM
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Friday 10am
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Jul 10th, 2015, 04:54 PM
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If you have a longer stay in San Francisco planned after Gualala, you might like to get yourself across the Golden Gate Bridge after arrival and stay in any of a number of nice places a short drive north. Sebastopol or Sonoma come to mind, are more or less on the way to Gualala and aren't far for an overnight rest before continuing north. Sausalito is even closer but it may depend on available accommodations. Have a look around. I do think, though, I'd do that rather than stop in the City and your early arrival time should get you across the bridge before the traffic.
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Jul 12th, 2015, 04:15 PM
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We were talking about making it all the way to Gualala immediately after out flight arrives. I think a better plan may be to spend three days in San Francisco. Get the kids moving after a long flight instead of three hours or more in a car. With that being said, would three days be better during the week or weekend in San Francisco, or does it matter?
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Jul 13th, 2015, 05:53 AM
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I thought you already booked a rental home for SF? Those are not usually changeable/cancellable.

But I don't think, if you're still going to Gualala, that the drive would be bad at 11am even after the long flight. You'll be making a lunch stop somewhere so two 90-minute legs isn't bad. You could make a 2nd stop as well along the way. That said, Gualala seems like a rather sleepy place for "a few days" with teenagers. But maybe unwinding is the idea?

Going down the coast, weekdays might be slightly easier to book especially if it's a one-nighter. Pismo Lighthouse Suites has a few 2-bathroom suites that have 2 separate bedrooms/3 queen beds. There is no living room/sitting area so pretty much the same as two-connecting-rooms elsewhere.
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Jul 13th, 2015, 05:55 AM
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...and try to make certain that any lodging in San Francisco includes parking!
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Jul 13th, 2015, 06:21 AM
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Great recommendation in Pismo, however it is booked. Yes Gualala is sleepy but the coastal home is so different than Florida, the kids insisted on a few days of simple relaxing and exploring. Please give me suggestions on where to stop when heading down the coast.
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